Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Obama Aiming at Israel's Nuclear Weapons

Allen Z. Hertz was senior adviser in the Privy Council Office serving Canada's Prime Minister and the federal cabinet. He formerly worked in Canada's Foreign Affairs Department and earlier taught history and law at universities in New York, Montreal, Toronto and Hong Kong. He studied European history and languages at McGill University (B.A.) and then East European and Ottoman history at Columbia University (M.A., Ph.D.). He also has international law degrees from Cambridge University (LL.B.) and the University of Toronto (LL.M.). This article was first published in the Times of Israel on February 19, 2014.

Mideast "linkage" is the notion that more distant issues like the Syrian civil war and/or Iran's race to nuclear weapons could in some significant sense be related to important questions touching Israel, such as the current negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

With respect to linkage, recently published is Aaron David Miller's Wilson Center essay entitled: "It's Iran, Stupid: The real, unspoken reason America won't get involved in Syria." Miller's piece turns on insights offered by President Obama in a valuable January 27, 2014 New Yorker article by David Remnick. But, President Obama there refers, not to linkage between matters involving just Iran and Syria, but rather to a connection among his top three Mideast issues, namely some problems relating to Israel, Syria, and Iran:
Obama told me that in all three of his main initiatives in the region — with Iran, with Israel and the Palestinians, with Syria — the odds of completing final treaties are less than fifty-fifty. “On the other hand,” he said, “in all three circumstances we may be able to push the boulder partway up the hill and maybe stabilize it so it doesn’t roll back on us. And all three are connected."
Astonishing is President Obama's assessment that there's less than a 50% chance of success for the three sets of now separate negotiations about Iran, Israel and Syria respectively. Equally striking is his assertion that these three persistent problems are somehow interwoven.

Really? Are they substantially linked? If so, how are they connected? Or is it that President Obama is significantly telling us that he will take steps to connect them? The likely link could be that, in each of these three instances, President Obama might soon try to make Israel foot the bill.

This is likely what President Obama is now thinking in terms of "next steps" after the predicted failure of the three sets of separate negotiations. And, perhaps there might be a fair chance of "success" for his likely strategy of addressing the three issues as one problem in a single negotiation. This might work, principally because Russia, China and Iran could perhaps perceive that his plan might enhance their own interests -- including by weakening the USA, which President Obama peculiarly wants out of the Mideast.

With respect to his expectation that the current negotiation with Iran would likely fail, President Obama is perhaps planning for an early diplomatic crisis. He might want this to coincide with the expected collapse of the bilateral peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Specifically, President Obama seems to want the three issues of Iran, Israel and Syria to align in the short term -- and in any event, before newly elected USA Senators and Representatives take their seats in January 2015, after which Congress is likely to be more determined to block him.

With references to "international peace" and also some empty threats to use force against Iran, President Obama would perhaps first posture dramatically, but then move quickly to exploit the perceived crisis in order to get Iran to solemnly agree to go no further than "threshold nuclear State," just like Japan.

For this (perhaps worthless) commitment from Iran, he might try to pay in gold coin, i.e. by denuclearizing Israel's defense. Namely, President Obama is perhaps planning to trade off Israel's nuclear weapons for a piece of paper promising that Iran would stop short of actually building a nuclear bomb. This would dovetail with the President's strong emphasis on gradually creating "a world without nuclear weapons" and the relevant regional reference in his June 2009 Cairo speech.

Shafting Israel in the cause of "international peace"? Sounds like something that would be wildly popular in the Muslim World and among left-liberals in the USA and globally. Though Gallup continues to show that Israel is the Mideast country that Americans view most favorably (72%), President Obama's gambit would have that angle of peace-loving plausibility likely to appeal to some USA independents. Such a "peace" policy would also help him continue his stubborn efforts to divide Jewish Americans from Jews in Israel. And, it might even win him a second Nobel Prize.

In this same diplomatic constellation, President Obama might try to compel Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights to buy Iran's consent to some sort of a peaceful outcome in Syria. If so, the measure would likely be proposed by the USA and agreed by the other countries currently negotiating with Iran. These are collectively called the P5+1, i.e. the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany.

Part of this ambitious package would perhaps also be creation of a new Palestinian State in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. But, we should also recall that President Obama has several times specifically promised a "contiguous" Palestine. Thus, there may be an attempt to equip the new Arab country with a land bridge linking Gaza with the West Bank; or Israel might even lose all the Negev. If so, this radical truncation would be imposed to "preserve the peace of the world," via agreement of Iran and the P5+1.

Once the fate of the Jewish State is to be decided entirely by foreigners, who knows what would happen and where it would end? For example, with an eye to the safety of the citizens of Tel Aviv, remember that references to “international peace and security” were also used to justify NATO bombing of Belgrade in 1999. That strange military operation was designed to force the government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia) to withdraw from Kosovo. Perhaps the prospect of applying similar military pressure on Israel was exactly what motivated President Obama to choose, as Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel who was widely known as cold to the Jewish State.

Despite the camouflage, President Obama really is making every effort to do to Israel in 2014, what was done to Czechoslovakia in 1938. This message was already a subtle subtext in his June 2009 Cairo speech. From his first day in office, President Obama was tenaciously targeting Israel not Iran. In essence, President Obama always intended to spin the Iran crisis into a device for rendering Israel virtually defenseless -- just as in 1938 Czechoslovakia was strategically crippled by the cession of the Sudetenland.

If so, there is certainly cynical dissimulation in President Obama's frequent trumpeting of both Israel's "right to exist" and a promise to always back the "security" of the Jewish State. Such sly equivocation would be fully consistent with the existence of nothing more than a truncated Israel, the security of which then would really have to depend mostly on the USA.

Is there a better explanation for President Obama's stunning assessment that the three separate negotiations are likely to fail and for his curious claim of interconnection of the substantive matters touching Syria, Iran and Israel? If so, I would be relieved to know it. But if not, this word to the wise should suffice.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Commentary Magazine Stifles Free Comment

Barack Obama as "Muslim Socialist"

Allen Z. Hertz was senior adviser in the Privy Council Office serving Canada's Prime Minister and the federal cabinet. He formerly worked in Canada's Foreign Affairs Department and earlier taught history and law at universities in New York, Montreal, Toronto and Hong Kong. He studied European history at McGill University (B.A.) and then East European and Ottoman history at Columbia University (M.A., Ph.D.). He also has international law degrees from Cambridge University (LL.B.) and the University of Toronto (LL.M.).


Barack Obama's links to Islam are more fully discussed in a July 2013 posting entitled "Obama's Muslim Past Spells Appeasement of Iran." Many would prefer to avoid this controversial topic. But forthright talk about Barack Obama's ties to Islam and the Muslim world is demanded by intellectual honesty and professional integrity. Such candor is also required to safeguard vital national interests. Matters touching Islam and the Muslim world now affect the security of many countries -- including Canada, the USA, and Israel. It is also imperative to alert the Jewish People, which has already been victimized by Muslims for close to 1,400 years. Willy-nilly, an understanding of this President's Mideast policies is not possible without considering his extraordinary attitudes to Muslims and the Muslim world.


At the beginning of November 2013, Commentary Magazine suddenly shut down its "Intense Debate" platform for offering readers a digital opportunity to quickly comment on the various blog posts on the publication's website. However, even before abruptly shutting the door to such rapid feedback from readers, Commentary Magazine was arbitrarily blocking the posting of some comments by readers. This censorship was an issue that readers had already started raising in talkbacks to the Commentary Magazine website.

In late October 2013, Commentary Magazine blocked the following comment which I had offered with respect to a Max Boot article criticizing the current round of defense-spending cuts in the USA.

Text blocked by Commentary Magazine

Max Boot's interesting essay omits from the current defense equation, the sitting President. On April 28, 2013, at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, Barack Obama significantly quipped: "I am not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be." Perhaps no longer so young, but maybe still something of the "Muslim socialist," as he himself put it.

Domestically, the "socialist" side is confirmed by a penchant for astonishingly big government and massive expansion of entitlement programs of near universal scope. This is tantamount to the systemic redistribution of wealth via relentless tax and spend. This President sometimes uses "guns or butter" lingo to justify deep defense-spending cuts. He says that USA tax dollars must instead go to existing and new social programs. His aim is to buy the electorate for a new vision of the country.

In terms of foreign policy, the "socialist" side underlines an extraordinary commitment to rapidly liquidate the post-WW2 pax Americana in favor of a new world disorder, in which the USA will play a more modest role. This includes acting through multilateral agencies like the United Nations and withdrawing from foreign entanglements. For example, Mideast allies like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel are to be abandoned, so that the region can be turned over to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Muslim optic comes into play in terms of the President's firm understanding that there is a socio-political phenomenon called the Muslim world. This contrasts with Western Civilization. Barack Obama is the first USA President to frequently frame his discourse in terms of Muslims and the Muslim world, in relation to which he clearly believes that apologies are owed by the USA, as expressed in his June 2009 Cairo speech. This President curiously thinks that the Muslim world should bulk larger in the affairs of the planet, which by definition means that the USA's role must be diminished. This diminution Obama sees as intrinsically positive.

A strong believer in distributive justice, Obama deplores the kind of economic and military-security advantages that Americans have for so long enjoyed. He is troubled that so many in the Muslim world suffer from insecurity and violence. So, this President wants to see more equality as between the lives of Americans and those in the Muslim world. His sensibility is offended that Americans (or Israelis) might be too happy and too secure. Accordingly, he favors deep defense cuts that would help align the situation of Americans more closely with the insecurity experienced by Muslims.

How can this be possible? The answer is that, unlike his predecessors, Barack Obama does not worship in the temple of USA national security. To the contrary, as a "Muslim socialist," he abhors the geopolitical status quo, which from youth he has always seen as intolerable. Accordingly, Obama frequently invites far-reaching change, without that fear of disorder which so terrified previous Presidents. By contrast, Barack Obama has always believed that chaos can be creative of new political and social relationships.

Earlier Presidents were leaders of "the free world." Namely, they were champions of Western civilization. By contrast, this President at best is impartial as among the various civilizations; and, at worst, he particularly favors the claims of the Muslim world, notably including the Islamic Republic of Iran. Thus, traditional USA prudence does not play in his foreign and defense policy.

The essential truth is that he will subject the USA to real risks to ensure realization of a distinctive worldview that was shaped during his childhood in Indonesia, where he went (1967-1971) to be reunited with his Muslim stepfather. Indonesia is a 90% Muslim country, to which Obama subsequently returned on at least five occasions during the 1970's and 1980's.

President Obama's particular worldview was also partly derived from his anthropologist mother, Stanley Anne Dunham. She married two Muslims; and spent most of her professional career in Indonesia, where she encouraged her son to adopt local culture. She was sharply critical of her fellow Americans, but deeply committed to both Indonesia and its people.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Obama's Muslim Past Spells Appeasement of Iran

"Young Muslim socialist that I used to be."

Allen Z. Hertz was senior advisor in the Privy Council Office serving Canada's Prime Minister and the federal cabinet. He formerly worked in Canada's Foreign Affairs Department and earlier taught history and law at universities in New York, Montreal, Toronto and Hong Kong. He studied European history at McGill University (B.A.) and then East European and Ottoman history at Columbia University (M.A., Ph.D.). He also has international law degrees from Cambridge University (LL.B.) and the University of Toronto (LL.M.). A version of this article was also published in the Times of Israel, February 26, 2014.

Okay to ask about Obama's religion?

June 4, 2009 in Cairo was one of several occasions when Barack Obama reminded us: "I'm a Christian." President Obama there chose to again broach the sensitive matter of his personal religious belief, which is a topic that he has also addressed in two books and on the campaign trail. This makes sense because consistent public-opinion polling shows that most Americans want a political leader to have religious conviction, and are interested in learning something about their leader's religious faith. Moreover, such polling about the role of religion in USA public life suggests that most Americans regard President Obama's current religion and religious history to be matters of legitimate public interest, though an articulate minority would strongly disagree.

The "birthers" helped Obama

Including careful research by reputable biographers, a range of evidence now shows that Barack Obama was indeed born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in August 1961. The birthers' far-fetched claims that he was born in Kenya helped Barack Obama discredit opponents as crackpots.

The birthers' egregious failure to prove false allegations about a Kenyan birthplace has gone a long way toward tarring all critical inquiry into Barack Obama's past. They have also harmed by distracting attention from Barack Obama's significant connection to Indonesia and the related issue of his worldview from childhood.

This worldview importantly includes long-standing ties to Islam, which is not only a religion, but also a civilization -- with distinct ways of interpreting human experience historically, politically and militarily. For example, it is probably fair to say that worldwide most Muslims see Iran’s current race to develop nuclear weapons as no greater a threat to peace than the nuclear weapons already possessed by countries like USA, India, and Israel.

Focus on Indonesia not Kenya!

In 1967 child Obama moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, to be reunited with his Muslim step-father Lolo Soetoro, who was significantly the only father Obama knew daily during early childhood and beyond. Obama's particular worldview was also derived from his anthropologist mother, Stanley Anne Dunham. She married two Muslims; and spent almost all of her professional career in Indonesia, where she encouraged her son to adopt local culture. She was sharply critical of her fellow Americans, but deeply committed to both Indonesia and its people.

Almost 90% Muslim, Indonesia is now the country with the largest Muslim population in the world. While living there, child Obama was perceived to be Muslim and he practiced Islam. This simple statement about Islamic practice should not be exaggerated into the bogus claim that child Obama studied in a fundamentalist medrese. Nor should it be "read down" to accommodate the politically convenient falsehood that Obama had a secular childhood. As we shall see, the "secular" claim is inconsistent with some of the bare facts about Obama's life in 1960's Indonesia, which is not to be confused with the USA either then or today.

Early ambition to be a President

From childhood, Barack Obama's enduring goal was to lead a country, whether the USA or much earlier Indonesia, to which he long retained ties. Thus, in eventually opting for the USA, Obama likely sought political advantage in his significantly late start of Christian religious practice. This probably occurred around age thirty, but in any event no later than his October 1992 marriage to Michelle Robinson. For about fifteen years thereafter, he attended services at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, where his long-time pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright frequently used the pulpit for anti-USA rants.

"Paris is worth a mass."
As an adult Henry of Navarre (1553-1610) converted to
Roman Catholicism to become King of France.

Self-serving denials

During the 2007-2008 Democratic nomination campaign, candidate Obama made the improbable claim that he had been unaware of Wright's bitter anti-USA pronouncements. But, this self-serving denial directly contradicts what had previously been written about Wright in Obama's 1995 autobiography, Dreams From My Father.

Similarly, both Barack Obama and his campaign staff specifically denied that he had ever practiced Islam. For example, in Pleasantville, Iowa, on December 22, 2007, candidate Obama explained:
My father was from Kenya, and a lot of people in his village were Muslim. He didn't practice Islam. Truth is he wasn't very religious. He met my mother. My mother was a Christian from Kansas. I've always been a Christian.... The only connection I've had to Islam is that my grandfather on my father's side came from that country. But I've never practiced Islam.
But we shall see that this unequivocal denial does not square with the salient facts. Thus, President Obama should be encouraged to speak about his early religious experience in a way that would be more intelligible to ordinary Americans who from childhood are generally people of faith.

Does childhood matter?

During the Cairo speech, President Obama specified: "My father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and at the fall of dusk."

Psychologists tell us that childhood experience is exceptionally significant. And, the Jesuits believed: "Give me the child until the age of seven and I will give you the man.” Because President Obama is a pivotal public figure who himself raises the matter of his Muslim roots, we are fully entitled to ask about his childhood to help better understand the foundations of his current ideology and predict his policy directions -- for example, with respect to Israel and the various Muslim countries, including the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Did child Obama practice Islam?

Theologically, Islam regards all children to be born Muslim and to remain such until adults teach them otherwise. On the balance of probabilities, child Obama was Muslim also because:
  • his paternal grandfather in Kenya was Muslim;
  • his Kenyan birth-father (though ideologically Marxist) always used his two Muslim names; and Dreams From My Father tells us that, when he died, his family wanted him buried with Muslim rites;
  • he was given his birth-father's two Muslim names, "Barack" and "Hussein";
  • his Indonesian step-father was also Muslim;
  • his Indonesian classmates and playmates recall that he attended Muslim religious services both at school and in mosques, when they believed him to be Muslim;
  • he was explicitly registered as Muslim at two elementary schools in Indonesia;
  • he then studied the Koran, as indicated in Dreams From My Father;
  • an Indonesian teacher recalls that child Obama was also learning Arabic recitation of the Koran, a part of which adult Obama could still recite by memory, as demonstrated during his 2007 interview with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof;
  • reflecting on her childhood with her older brother, Obama's half-sister Maya Soetoro in 2007 told the New York Times: "My whole family was Muslim"; and
  • speaking to ABC commentator George Stephanopolous in September 2008, candidate Obama inadvertently referred to "my Muslim faith" -- a slip of the tongue that could never have passed the lips of a lifelong Hindu, Buddhist, Christian or Jew.

From Jakarta's Fransiskus Assisi School, a registration (Jan.1, 1968)
 for "Barry Soetoro," aka Barack Hussein Obama.
Indicated are "Honolulu" as "birthplace"; "Islam" as "religion";
and "Indonesia" as "country of citizenship."
 (AP, Jan. 24, 2007).

Young Muslim socialist?

The high probability that Barack Obama practiced Islam as a child in Indonesia does not necessarily mean that his close connections with Islam and Muslims abruptly ended in 1971, when he moved back to Hawaii.

Barack Obama himself specifically pointed to this possibility on April 28, 2013, at the annual White House correspondents' dinner, which is traditionally an occasion for presidential humor. There, as a subtle political ploy, he probably spoke truth in jest, in saying: "I'm not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be."

This quip recalls information in Dreams From My Father which, inter alia, details his many continuing ties to Muslims, e.g., close friends and roommates. Thus, Dreams From My Father and some other statements by Barack Obama, and by his family and friends, raise the possibility that he did indeed retain something of a Muslim self-identification beyond his first decade.

Holding hands: Barack Hussein Obama and Mohammed Hasan Chandoo
 were roommates in Pasadena (1980-1981),
when they attended Occidental College, Los Angeles.

Barack Obama's retention of something of a Muslim self-identification is an hypothesis supported by recent testimony from his former New York lover, Genevieve Cook who is the daughter of a prominent Australian diplomat. Referring to her diary for the years 1983-1985, she recalls that, after his graduation (1983) from Columbia University, Barack Obama was still socializing mostly with Muslims from Pakistan. In this connection, she clearly specified: "Me and the Paki mob and that was it pretty much."

Relevant to this track record of strong ties to Muslims was Barack Obama's 1981 visit to Muslim Pakistan, a trip which he discussed during the 2008 presidential campaign. Barack Obama's three-week stay in Pakistan was immediately preceded by a visit to Indonesia, where he had lived as a child until 1971. Thereafter, Obama returned to Indonesia on no fewer than five occasions, at various times in the 1970's and 1980's.

Because Michelle Robinson is to our right, this photograph shows
Barack Hussein Obama, certainly no younger than age 28,
wearing the white topi or kofia hat that is traditionally
associated with Islam in East Africa, Southeast Asia and China.

With a master's and doctor's degree in divinity, Jeremiah Wright is also a prominent USA theologian. From this expert perspective, he recently specified that, when he first met Barack Obama in 1987, he was immediately impressed by how much Obama then knew about Islam, by contrast with Obama's slender knowledge about Jesus. Asked if he had converted Obama from Islam to Christianity, Wright replied:
That's hard to tell. I think that I convinced him it was okay for him to make a choice in terms of who he believes Jesus is. And I told him that it was really okay and not a put down of the Muslim part of his family or his Muslim friends.

As a new law student at Harvard University in late 1988, Barack Obama was told by the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Senior: "If you want to succeed in politics in this country, you had better get yourself a Christian religion." What did Jesse Jackson then know about Obama's religious background? And twenty years later (October 2008), why did Jackson significantly predict that an Obama victory in the presidential election would certainly mean a reversal of USA policy toward Israel?

19th-century UK Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881).
His parents always remained Jews, but they had their 12-year-old son convert to

Anglicanism, specifically for social advantage.

Like Nixon to China?

Though earlier Presidents spoke about the Mideast or the Arab world, Barack Obama was significantly the first to frequently refer to "Muslims around the world" and the "Muslim world." Both historically and currently, this Muslim world is as much a political as a religious concept.

Certainly, President Obama's 2009 journey to Cairo for "a new beginning" with Muslims around the world cannot be compared with President Richard Nixon's 1972 trip to Beijing to begin direct dialogue with the communist leaders of China. As a long-time "Cold Warrior" with sterling anti-communist credentials, Nixon was hard to challenge on his motives for talking with Chairman Mao.

By contrast, ought there not to be some degree of skepticism about the motives of a President with publicly avowed Muslim roots, reaching out to the Muslim world, notably including appeasement of the Islamic Republic of Iran?

February 1972 President Nixon talks with China's Premier Chou En Lai.
Nobody was ever able to credibly accuse Nixon of being "soft on Communism."

By contrast, many say President Obama is "soft on Islam."

Conflicting loyalties?

With respect to President Obama, the potential political problem falls under the familiar headings of bias and conflict of loyalties. Acute danger arises because:
  • USA stakes are the very highest with respect to the race to nuclear weapons of the Islamic Republic of Iran;
  • Islam is not just a religion, but also a political program; and
  • President Obama really does make his own Mideast policy solo like a 21st-century Napoleon III.
"Emperor of the French," Napoleon III (1808-1873).
His incompetent, ideology-driven foreign policy ignored
vital national interests and led to France's humiliating defeat
and permanent loss of primacy in Europe. 

There is no responsible way to avoid the disturbing possibility that this President neglects vital USA interests, due to peculiar ideological preconceptions. Specifically, the risk is that he harbors sympathies and self-identifications that historically have been both outside the American mainstream and hostile to the Western world.

Killing Osama partly political theater!

Personally approving targets, this President puts special emphasis on drone strikes against Al-Qaeda and other selected terrorists. Whatever the tactical benefits, such drone strikes are no substitute for an effective foreign policy. To the contrary, they harm foreign policy by damaging relations with Pakistan and stirring strong anti-USA sentiment in other countries.

Killing Osama bin Laden and the continuing drone strikes are significantly also political theater -- a Rambo-style show partly aimed at deflecting attention from Barack Obama's own Muslim past toward a contrived narrative portraying him as a tough sheriff, riding posse on Islamists.

Drone strikes are also intended to distract from the philo-Muslim architecture of President Obama's peculiar Mideast policy. This appeases a dangerous enemy like the Islamic Republic of Iran, which daily gets closer to nuclear weapons. The Iranian ayatollahs also persistently project power via Iraq to Syria, and then onward to Lebanon. President Obama helped make this possible by rushing to withdraw USA forces from Iraq. He also abandons Afghanistan and betrays old friends like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

A Jewish-American President?

Charges of bias and conflict of loyalties would inevitably be raised were there a Jewish-American President, perceived to favor Israel to the slightest extent. For example, consider the case of Al Gore's year 2000 vice-presidential running-mate, former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman. He practices Orthodox Judaism. Had Joe Lieberman become President, we can be dead certain that countless critics would have pointed to his Jewish descent and faith to challenge his Mideast policies, unless egregiously hostile to Israel.

Senator Joe Lieberman practices Orthodox Judaism.

But, still remaining are two essential differences: Firstly, Senator Lieberman was always completely open about both his Judaism and his affection for the Jewish State. Secondly, by contrast to any Muslim country, Israel is more closely linked to the USA and consistently admired by a solid majority of Americans.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Does Attack on Iran Mean Attack on South Korea?

Watch for Simultaneous Crises in Far and Mideast! 

Allen Z. Hertz was senior adviser in the Privy Council Office serving Canada's Prime Minister and the federal cabinet. He formerly worked in Canada's Foreign Affairs Department and earlier taught history and law at universities in New York, Montreal, Toronto and Hong Kong. He studied European history at McGill University (B. A.) and then East European and Ottoman history at Columbia University (M. A., Ph.D.). He also has international law degrees from Cambridge University (LL.B.) and the University of Toronto (LL.M.). An earlier version of this article was published on April 14, 2013, in American Thinker.

Matching threats to Iran and South Korea? 

There is perhaps a key message in the current Korean crisis -- namely, a threat of a USA strike on Iran might be matched by threat of a North Korean attack on South Korea. Could this be an indirect way for the People's Republic of China (PRC) to go mano-a-mano with the USA?

Connection between the Far and Mideast gains credence from a recent review of relevant Chinese-language literature by a USA scholar at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy. Lora Saalman observes: "Chinese discourse tends to link the Iranian nuclear question with North Korea."

North Korea, China's junkyard dog?

As in the past, the PRC is allied with North Korea which has 24.5 million people and an economy smaller than that of Nepal, but larger than Cote d'Ivoire. According to the Financial Times:
China is estimated to account for nearly 90% of North Korea’s overall exports and imports, but North Korea accounts for less than 0.2% of China’s exports and imports.
Relevant PRC players sometimes regard North Korea as analogous to a backward part of China. And, as is frequently the case, the master-servant nexus generates keen resentment. Thus, "Pyongyang detests Beijing’s high-handed treatment of the North akin to that of a poor Chinese province," as said by area expert Victor Cha in April 2011 testimony to a USA Congressional Commission.

Even in China, little is known about the PRC-North Korea relationship and even less about the military ties between their armies. Thus, there is the logical possibility that North Korea might really be, in some respects, a PRC proxy. If so, Beijing's sway need not be uniform across all subject matter. For instance, the PRC might choose to exercise decisive influence with respect to nuclear weapons, but not with regard to concentration camps.

The stark truth is that Beijing has the practical ability to force the North Koreans -- leader, party, government, army -- to comply with PRC wishes via promise or performance of any number of countermeasures, were that even necessary.

PRC government privy to PLA secrets?

What about the hypothesis that North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles might somehow really be controlled by China's People's Liberation Army (PLA)?  If so, only a handful of people in China and North Korea would need to know about it.

The PLA is not subordinate, but rather coordinate to the PRC Government. The PLA reports only to the Communist Party of China. Thus, much goes on inside the PLA that is unknown to the PRC Government, and certainly unknown to the PRC Foreign Affairs Ministry which dares not tangle with the PLA. China's policy with regard to North Korea is made by the Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee together with the PLA, whose special interest in North Korea is acknowledged and respected.

PRC dissimulation?

Why should we believe that the PLA is really unhappy with North Korea's behavior? Recently Lignet reported that additional PLA units had moved to the border with North Korea. If so, those reinforcements are perhaps more likely a warning to the USA than to North Korea. The same is true of some recent ambiguous statements by the PRC's new President Xi Jinping, which some Western media rushed to interpret as a rebuke to North Korea. However, within the PRC some of those same statements were seen as aimed at the USA.

Cutting USA down to size!

Though the PRC has become starkly pragmatic and the USA more ideological, the two countries are willy nilly still playing "the great game" of the world powers. In this context, cutting the USA down to size is one of the fundamental goals of both PRC and Russian foreign policy.

Without reference to ideology, North Korea remains an important strategic asset for the PRC. For example, North Korea is a buffer between the PRC and South Korea, which is a USA ally.

It is also possible that the PRC sees North Korea's nuclear-weapons and missile programs as an effective way to persistently challenge the USA presence in Northeast Asia. The point is to demonstrate to South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan that the USA is no longer able to guarantee their security.

And those like the USA, who now once again turn to Beijing in the hope of moderating North Korea's bizarre words and conduct are actually bending to a strategy that seeks to have China's neighbors recognize that they are now in a PRC sphere of influence.

PRC, a nuclear proliferator?

North Korea is an adjacent state, where the PLA might perhaps one day wish to deploy without local authorization. Therefore, theorists of nuclear proliferation would find it difficult to understand why the PRC would have wanted to help North Korea advance nuclear weapons and long-range missiles there.

Pakistan is also contiguous to the PRC which probably gave Pakistan some nuclear-weapons technologies that were in turn passed on to North Korea. From a PRC strategic perspective, can the case of North Korea be distinguished from that of Pakistan?

The PRC-Pakistan border runs along some of the world's highest mountains. In 1896, eye-witness traveler Lord Curzon wrote about "the amazing military strength of the frontier."  Thus, even without nuclear weapons, Pakistan was likely always able to stop an army coming from China.

By contrast, the PRC-North Korea border is militarily penetrable. Without nuclear weapons, North Korea is probably unable to prevent the PLA from deploying across the Yalu and Tumen Rivers. Thus, it is hard to imagine that the PLA would ever permit the North Korean army to get and keep nuclear-armed missiles capable of being aimed and fired, independently of the PLA.

This particular point is strengthened by considering the stern PRC warnings against any suggestion of Taiwan ever acquiring nuclear weapons. The PRC has explicitly identified that specific contingency as one of the several factors likely to prompt the PLA to use force to take the island.

PLA ties to North Korea a "black hole"

Since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, the PRC has probably always been in a unique position to curb North Korea. If so, why did Beijing further (or, at the very least, acquiesce with respect to) North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles?

The answer might be in details of the intimate relationship between the North Korean military and the PLA. For sure, these are secrets about which almost nothing is known. However, it is commonly said that the PLA has close ties to its North Korean counterpart and that the PLA has projects and activities in North Korea.

"All warfare is based on deception" says Sunzi in The Art of War, an ancient text still revered by PLA strategists. In the same spirit is the well-known Chinese adage, "use a borrowed knife to strike your enemy." Thus, it is readily understandable why perhaps there are some PLA fingerprints on key aspects of North Korea's nuclear-weapons and missile programs.


North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the PRC seem to have left fingerprints on various aspects of Iran's nuclear-weapons and missile programs. And, Iran and North Korea now appear to be collaborating with an eye to "playing" the USA.

The likely goal is to challenge the USA with simultaneous crises in both the Far and Mideast. If so, this result would probably be welcome to both the PRC and Russia as part of their continuing effort to counter USA global influence. And this is precisely why both the PRC and Russia have probably to some extent furthered Iran's race to nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

USA "missed the boat" on Iran?

So far, the USA is playing its hand without much intelligence or skill. And in this regard, we should turn to Henry Kissinger's March 2013 comments at the Council on Foreign Relations. There, Kissinger implied that governments around the world neither trust President Obama nor know where he is heading internationally.

From day one, the USA leader wasted much of his first term pointing a finger at Israel and peculiarly "reaching out to the Muslim World," notably including the Islamic Republic of Iran. Instead, USA interests might have been better served had the new President early on used some force to stop or slow Iran's drive toward nuclear weapons. Now, current developments hint at linkage between the Far and Mideast. This may signal that the cost of taking on Iran may perhaps have become too high.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013




艾伦赫兹,曾任加拿大枢密院(服务于加拿大首相和联邦内阁)高级顾问,此前供职于加拿大外交部.更早些时候,他在纽约、蒙特利尔、多伦多、香港等地的多间大学教授历史与法律.他曾在麦克吉尔大学(McGill University)学习欧洲历史与语言,获学士学位 (B. A.);尔后在哥伦比亚大学(Columbia University)学习东欧与奥特曼帝国历史,获文学硕士、哲学博士 (M. A., Ph.D.) 学位;他还获得剑桥大学(Cambridge University)法学学士学位 (LL.B.); 多伦多大学(University of Toronto)法学硕士学位 (LL.M.). 本文的最初文本曾发表于下列媒体:《美国思想者》(American Thinker);《以色列智库评论》(Israel Resource Review);《温尼伯犹太评论》(Winnipeg Jewish Review);《耶路撒冷邮报》(Jerusalem Post).

[English- and French-language versions of this article are on this website. See two separate postings, respectively October 2011 entitled "Jewish Aboriginal Rights to Israel" and March 2012 entitled "Sur les droits autochtones du peuple juif." The English-language version is the original text.]










选择作为一个独特民族的始终如一的自我识别系统,给自己一个独特的命名(例如 יהודים‎ = Yehudim = 犹太人),共享一定变量范围内相对独特的文明特征——例如共同的祖先、历史、祖国、领土,语言,文学,宗教,文化,经济及社会制度。在民族的主观身分认同之外,一个民族吸引它的朋友和敌人眼球的客观外在的身分同一性,也常常为民族的存在及其特征提供弥足珍贵的历史证据。






一般来说,在当地,大多数穆斯林和阿拉伯人顽固地拒绝承认“以色列”作为犹太人正式国家的永久性与合法性。换言之,拒绝接受犹太人民在其原本更大的祖居之地的部分国土上,通过实际的政治手段行使民族自决的权利。这祖居之地,从地中海一直延伸到约旦河以东的土地。例如,“圣经”告诉我们,十二个部族的分布横跨约旦河。上古以色列国王大卫、所罗门和他们的继任者所管辖的王国版图也向东横跨约旦河——这版图稍后又成为罗马帝国的“朱迪亚”的版图。自上古以来,这个家园便被称为“以色列的土地”(希伯来语,ארץ ישראל)。

我们知道,基督教汲取了犹太教的许多元素,而伊斯兰教更是从基督教、犹太教这两个更古老的一神论宗教中汲取灵感。因为这个原因,后来基督徒和穆斯林所理解的“圣地”((拉丁语,terra sancta奥斯曼土耳其语,arz-i mukaddes)在地理学上与早期犹太人的“以色列的土地”属同一概念。


































1919年和1920年,大多数当地阿拉伯人——穆斯林或基督徒——都支持当时创建一个新的叫做“大叙利亚”的阿拉伯国家的计划。他们希望这个国家将涵盖今天的叙利亚,黎巴嫩,约旦,约旦河西岸,加沙和以色列。对居住在“圣地”的穆斯林而言,地域如此广泛的政治认同是自然的,因为大马士革大省(奥斯曼土耳其语:الشام‎ Sham)在不同的时期里都突出表现了穆斯林和奥斯曼帝国历史的特点。相比之下,奥斯曼帝国从未有过的一个省或副省级单位,叫做“巴勒斯坦”或拥有与“巴勒斯坦”一样辽阔的土地。不管如何设想。穆斯林历史上从未有过一个国家或省被称为“巴勒斯坦”。

公元七世初期的阿拉伯征服后,在伊斯兰领土上大马士革省的一个区(阿拉伯语称jund جند)曾一度保留了罗马和拜占庭老地名Palaestina (阿拉伯语称 Filastin










国际上决定“在从海边到约旦河”之间的土地上建立一个“犹太人的民族家园”,并没有导致在当地阿拉伯人流离失所。相反,从1922年到1948年,在犹太人的人口增加了8倍的同时,在“犹太人的民族家园”居住的阿拉伯人口也几乎增加了两倍。然而,在19485月,当地阿拉伯人联合几个相邻的阿拉伯国家发动了一场毁灭新独立的以色列的战争。那时他们宣称其目的便是灭绝生活在从海边到约旦河之间这片土地上的所有犹太人——就像土耳其人于1922年令人惊讶地成功地在安那托利亚沿岸根除了的作为原住民的希腊人的社区那样。因此,中东难民问题主要是19485 月后出现的。特别是,出现的难民中有850,000犹太人。他们从不同的穆斯林或阿拉伯国家或阿拉伯军队占领的“犹太人的民族家园”的部分领土上逃出来。尽管如此,依然有大约600,000阿拉伯人居住在从1948年以后一直在以色列政府控制下的“犹太人的民族家园”的土地上,他们构成了当地阿拉伯人中的绝大多数,虽然不是全部。

















第二次世界大战后,埃及与约旦政府的行动表明他们对巴勒斯坦人的自决权其实是漠不关心。首先,他们拒绝了1947年联合国成员大会的决议——这个决议建议把大海至约旦河之间的地区切割,成立分别属于犹太人与阿拉伯人的两个新的国家。其次,在1948年到1967年之间 “巴勒斯坦国”并未建立起来,那时埃及拥有加沙地带而约旦则拥有东耶路撒冷和约旦河西岸。









最后,犹太原住民权利、条约权利与民族自决权利加在一起,都要求有至关重要的安全措施,以确保一个新的巴勒斯坦国不会变成最终毁灭以色列的跳板。因为在穆斯林和阿拉伯人占优势的中东,犹太民族仍然是一个脆弱的易受攻击的少数民族,一个全面的和最终的和平条约可能需要有许多确保犹太人安全的有效的约定。而这些的安全措施既应有重要的军事防务措施,也应包括一个毫不含糊地承认以色列作为犹太国家的永久合法性的条款。 也就是承认,以色列作为犹太国家,正是犹太人民在其祖先的家园的部分领土上实现其民族自决权利的一种政治表述。